The Libyan boomerang turned towards the West

The Libyan boomerang turned towards the West
The Libyan boomerang turned towards the West

/Pogled.info/ The end of the summer in the Middle East was marked by another bloodshed in Libya. According to the local Ministry of Health, armed clashes on the streets of Tripoli have killed at least 32 people and injured around 160.

What is the reason for what happened, who is at war with whom on the territory of the former Jamahiriya? It will not be easy to understand it, but such is the specificity of the region – any attempts to ignore the subtleties and nuances here are costly. And it will be all the more interesting to find out how all this is connected with Ukraine.

The main characters are little known to the Russian reader – they are Fati Bashaga and Abdelhamid Dbeiba.

The latter heads the Government of National Unity. He took office last spring following more than six months of UN-sponsored negotiations.

The peace process was conceived as an attempt to finally find a way out of the seven-year crisis that escalated three years after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi. In itself, the PNE was transitional – its task was to prepare the elections scheduled for December 24, 2021. Among other things, it was formed after the head of the Government of National Accord, Fayez Sarraj, resigned and transferred the powers to the presidential council and the PNE itself.

But it was not possible to hold the elections as planned. The vote is postponed until January 24. There were many objective reasons for this, as the country was (and still is) controlled by dozens of different political forces, most of which are supported by armed groups. And for example, on December 16 last year, some of them rebelled in the capital because of the resignation of the commander of the military district in Tripoli.

However, one month was not enough to prepare for the elections. Therefore, in February, the House of Representatives of Libya overwhelmingly supported the candidacy of Fathy Bashagha, who was nominated for the post of new Prime Minister. In the previous government, among other things, he led the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Despite the decision of the parliament, Dbeiba refused to cede power and the situation in the country returned to the usual dual power.

In addition, the crisis is complicated by the factor of Khalifa Haftar, a staunch friend of Bashagha and commander of the Libyan army. Even before the conclusion of the peace agreement, they were on both sides of the barricades, but now they have become, if not allies, then partners in the fight against Tripoli and Dbeiba. At the same time, both of them raised their candidacies for the presidency before the failed elections.

In the current August confrontation, Haftar has taken the position of an outside observer, limiting himself to calling on the parties for peace and saying that only the Libyan people, under the protection of the army, will determine the country’s fate.

To fully understand the situation in Libya, you need to understand that Haftar, Bashagha and Dbeiba represent three key forces with centers in Tobruk, Misrata and Tripoli respectively. At the same time, the current parliament sits in Tobruk and the government in the capital. And during the last seven years of the civil war, which ended with the formation of PNE, Haftar repeatedly tried to take Tripoli by storm, but failed. And not the last role was played here by the forces of Bashaga.

But a far more significant obstacle was the direct intervention of Turkish troops: Ankara is the most active of all external players in Libya. In addition, in June, the Turkish parliament extended the mission’s mandate for another year and a half.

Now let’s digress a bit and pay attention to another story unfolding in Libya this year.

In April, the local National Oil Corporation announced the suspension of work at the large Sharara and El Fil fields, as well as at the port of Zuweitina. The reason for this decision was the actions of the protesters who demanded that Dbeiba hand over power to Bashaga. They also accused NOC head Mustafa Sanala of unfair distribution of oil revenues – most of which went to Dbeiba.

Against this background, according to “Bloomberg”, in two months, the export of black gold from the country has decreased almost 2.5 times.

Naturally, Sanala was fired, and a new head of the board of directors, Farhat Bengdar, was appointed in his place. After that, the protests subsided.

The situation will immediately become clearer if we recall one circumstance. The top three importers of Libyan oil are as follows: Italy, China and Spain. And here it is already obvious how the thin threads of the web of international relations connect the Libyan crisis with the Ukrainian one.

Therefore, any escalation in Libya will be stopped by all possible means, including by Turkish troops. For the West now every barrel counts and a cold winter is ahead.

But, unfortunately, the full resolution of the crisis is still not in the interest of Europe and the United States. Ankara, although playing its game in North Africa, desperately trying to find allies, will not risk the tacit consent of Washington and Brussels for the presence of its contingent in the country. And peace in Libya may bring to power Khalifa Haftar, who completed the courses at the Soviet military academy “Frunze”, or Seif al-Islam, the son of Muammar Gaddafi – and then wonder who will be worse for the “civilized world”.

Therefore, they prefer not to break what works, although very badly, the main thing is to keep the oil flowing.

Translation: V. Sergeev

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The article is in bulgaria

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